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Turk McDragon
User ID: 37418215
United States
06/02/2013 07:31 PM
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The wind up...The pitch. Strike one, straight down main street. The catcher starts running through signs and the pitcher is following, shaking, nodding: the deuce, then the heat. The pitcher shakes, nods once, extra-slow. The wind up...The pitch. No good, a slider mistaking itself for a hanging curveball. He's lucky though, two inches of hickory away from a towering, batter's eye home run. Foul ball. Strike two. Unwritten baseball shit now: mandatory for the pitcher to waste one. But he sees the commitment in the box and thinks again. He stares in, offering an imperceptible nod before fingers are dropped. The crowd is hushed, but murmuring in agitated stage whispers. Staring lasers. A big moment. An important game. The wind-up...

It's a High fastball. Somewhat depleted, sure, because the (very important) game is in the late, late goings, but a fastball just the same. That sometimes gets lost in the telling. Anyway, high fastball. The very high fastball - in fact - that the batter had been sitting on since he stepped in the box. He uncorks a swing - this batter does - for the ages, The kind of swing that's liable to extract a man from his cleets, and his tube sox, and his plus-fours, and then auger him into the dirt like a fleshy drill bit, until his hat just sits there covering a man-sized hole. He had a man on first, and this was the last half of the last frame of a home game which the batsman's team was losing by one run.

It was a very, very big game. And when that batter unleashed that titanic swipe, it became - if only for a few seconds - a very, very big game that the home team had suddenly WON in an intense, rally-from-behind type fashion. The crowd - as they say - went crazy. When bat connected with ball, though, the noise that rang out was not the correct noise. Instead of a sharp, echoey CRACK! kind of sound, there was a dry, muted CLICK! kind of sound . No ball launched into the sodium atmosphere. No leisurely base-runners jogged the bags, smirking into stands over-filled with grateful, ecstatic fan-base. Instead, the players all stayed put, and the crowd loosed the sort of quick, un-intentional cheer followed by disappointed, mass- AWWWWWwwww! usually held in reserve for warning track flies, and other loud outs.

It was the batter who first registered something weird was afoot. Givens was his name, and he was having a carreer year. The home-run that the pitch would've almost definitely been battered into would have been his 19th on the season. He'd come into the box that day toting a lusty .287, with a slugging percentage already inching from mildly improbable to uncannily miraculous. John Louis Givens came to the yard that day a 32 year old journeyman who'd seen the inside of seven different major league clubhouses in a 12-year tenure. Home run number 19 - he thought - would have felt pretty good, securing - as it would have - a big win in an important game.

But, as it turned out, things broke a little differently, and J.L. Givens did not hit home run number 19 that day, or any day. In fact, he slid a little after that game, and even though the schedule showed eight more days of baseball for the season, JL's season came to an end two nights later. He'd been a dismal 1-for-18 since "The Game", then chipped a bone in his foot, and didn't pick up a bat until the following May. It went like that for a lot of guys on the field that night, like maybe the price for bearing witness to such amazements was a small piece of natural ability itself.

A few seconds after the big AWWWWWWwwww! That's when everybody saw it, although on tv they'd been talking about it already. The cameras, trained - as they were - on home plate, spotted the "Event" as it would come to be known almost immediately. The local cable feed stayed with the shot for a few seconds and let the guys in the booth try to figure it out:

Don: Well.

Jerry: It's...

Don: I....(gasp)...

Jerry: Look at Givens.

Don: Yeah, what's...? Is it just...?

Jerry: I don't...ah...

It was. Givens had taken a few steps back was just sort of standing there, regarding the ball. Then, apparently having found what he'd been seeking, he moved in again, this time with brandishing the bat like a broad sword, swiping and hacking as he went. He pounded the fucker good too. From the top, in a two-handed tomahawk-like motion, and then bashing from both sides - one and then the other - over and over again until the ump noticed and put a stop to the assault. The ball just hung there in the air, two feet above the ground and dead-center over the plate.

Don: Well, Jerry, I....

Jerry: What? (gasp)

Don: We're taking a commercial break everybody. Back in five from uh...

And they did come back in five, but nothing was any less weird or any more explainable. In the end, the fucker was called a strike, and a "W" for the other team. There was nothing else to be done. The league rule book made no allowances for baseballs that suddenly stopped in mid-air, hovering two feet off the ground. No book made allowances for that. Soon the ball was the only thing anybody in the world would talk about. Even the rotten economy takes a back seat when baseballs freeze in the air and stay put. Everybody had an opinion, and everybody wanted to see the baseball. Ratings for the two remaining games in the series set records, because - although the park'd been re-jiggered accommadate the floating ball - the thing was still visible in the center field camera view of the pitcher on the mound. It was always in frame back there, blinking in and out of frame over the Ump's protector. People bought tickets for the games, but the team's hopes had ended mathmaticaly the night the baseball froze in the air. The people were watching now to see the ball.

Ironically, the team wanted none of it. The floating ball had brought trouble in the form of the horrible loss, and - immediately following that - an ever-expanding global obsession with the team, the players, the park, and, of course, the ball itself. Supplicants poured in from every corner, swooning and scraping. Foaming at the mouth to be near the ball, to study it and take pictures of it, to offer their opinions of it and have those opinions documented by the phalanx of press that buzzed around the thing day and night. And what opinions! The thing was from space, and it was a warning. The thing was from space, and it was a good sign! The thing was a terrorist plot, and dark forces were staging while America lay in thrall to the floating ball. The baseball was haunted by the ghost of Babe Ruth, who'd foreseen the whole situation one night after he'd passed out while fucking Marylin Monroe. The Ball was a sign of God's wrath, and the Mighty Jehova would release it from his grasp only when humans started supporting small government, lower taxes, and loose gun-control legislation. The Floating baseball was the second coming of Jesus, and it was all there in the movie "Bull Durham" for anybody who wanted to watch the movie backwards until the end (which, in that scenario, would be the begining).

Unfortunately for everybody, the ball remained. For the rest of that season, and the rest of many more seasons. Until - many, many, many, years later - the ball became less a fascination than a charming old antique, like a statue or a plaque. Nobody had ever come close to explaining it, so eventually they just gave up. The physical world had remained true to form lo these many years, why upset the apple cart over such a trifle.

"Well Son, usually baseballs just fly and drop according to the laws of physics and gravity. Usually that is except one time when the laws of physics and gravity just were'nt on, for whatever reason"

Or something like that was usually what was offered in the way of explanation.
Time went on. The game of baseball eventually faded away, and the parks where it was once played faded too. the park with the floating ball was demolished once to make way for a new park for a different sport, and then again years later to make way for a movie theater. Through it all the ball remained. The Movie people didn't even feature the thing, chosing instead top wall it up under a load bearing segment and not talk about it in hopes that people would forget. The plan worked. They did forget.

Eventually the movie theater, and all things made by man passed from the surface of the planet. The atmosphere got hot for a thousand years, boiling and gassing through space at 1000 degrees. Still the ball remained floating, white, undisturbed. The surface of the Earth heaved and pitched, revolting against the geophysical uniformity of EONS, until nothing was as it had been before. The Seas froze and the earth became a cauldron of extremes. One half set solid in ice sheets miles thick, the other oozing and molten, burning for eternity and existing as both liquid and solid for thousands of thousands of years. The meridian that separated the two zones passed directly through the floating baseball, still trapped mid-flight two feet over the middle of a home plate that hadn't existed for a very long time.

Eventually, the swollen postule that had been the earth began to disintegrate under the explosive stress of millions of years in the orbit of the red sun. It's landmass melted to it's particulate infrastructure, and separated and little by little, the component parts drifting off randomly into space. Some froze, becoming separate plantes of ice and rock. Some blew apart and spun towards the far corners of the universe, beccoming things, and then still other things. Some just stayed where it was, letting what remained of the laws of gravity and physics shape and mold it into new forms. The baseball, despite losing it's geographic context to the physical shifts, maintained it's position. As milllenium moved into millenuium, all remnant of anything resembling the great carbon-based planet earth had been wiped from the memory of the galaxy by natural means. All but the baseball itself, which stayed exactly where it was the entire time.

One day, after an amount of time immeasurable and incomprehensible by any standard had gone by, the baseball found itself hovering - once again - over something remarkably similiar to the earth. Hovering, in fact, over a gigantic mass of minerals and H20 almost identical to that of the Earth that had abandoned it so many millions and billions of centuries ago. Appreciating both the irony and the amazing statistical happenstance, the baseball finally decided to stop being so obstinant and do what had been expected of it. It gave in, and let itself be. There was the second half of a phantom "CRACK", and the ball launched up into the white and blue sky like a miniature moon cresting mountain tops in shitty, wall-hung, oil-on-canvas hanging in a smelly room in a bad motel. It flew and flew. Then it stopped flying and hit the ground and rolled a bit, and then it stopped rolling and just sat, regarding the grass, the sun, the sky, and allowing itself an unspecified duration of peace.
UnBanned Immortal

User ID: 37988479
United States
06/02/2013 07:48 PM
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Re: Ball
May The Schwartz be with you.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 41022011
United States
06/02/2013 08:07 PM
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Re: Ball
wow will read later
Gink (OP)
User ID: 37418215
United States
06/02/2013 08:17 PM
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Re: Ball
Odd. good but very odd.